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Covid-19 update: regional tertiary town investment continues despite lockdown

A regional property investment firm has released figures which suggest that there is still movement in the property market in the tertiary towns of Wolverhampton and Doncaster despite the UK-wide lockdown.

While the government has set out its three-step plan to phase us out of shutdown (applying to England only; Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are keeping the ‘stay at home’ guidance for now), these changes are being described as cautious with very few actual changes to the lockdown imposed on March 23.

Solomon New Homes is currently marketing 144 apartments in its Churchside converted office development in the south-western quarter of Wolverhampton city centre, as well as marketing 70 single-bedroom apartments at the Consort House office conversion in Waterdale, Doncaster’s Civic Quarter.   

Solomon has seen 11 sales at Churchside and 16 sales at Consort House in the past seven weeks, with both buyers and investors acquiring the modern accommodation units close to the tertiary towns’ amenities and employers.

Covid-19 update: regional tertiary town investment continues despite lockdown

“It’s great to see people continuing to invest in property during the downturn,” Andrew Ward, founder of Solomon New Homes, said. “During lockdown our sales messages have been joined by Covid updates for our buyers to ensure they are kept abreast of industry movement via podcasts and webinars – whose numbers have increased in engagement by 30%.”

He also said the firm has embraced digital technology for viewings and ‘communicating with clients’.

Solomon specialises in off-plan sales and says the ability to use CGI, video and brochures to sell property was already a tried and tested technique. 

“The growth in using online meeting facilities during lockdown has made people more comfortable appearing on film, our sales teams have therefore been able to conduct more ‘f’ meetings than they would normally and continue to carry on with business as ‘unusual’ during lockdown,” Ward added.

“Investors have been keen to continue to put their money in property with one buyer who was originally purchasing one of our Consort House Doncaster apartments before the pandemic now purchasing three units.” 

Ward said the positive conversations Solomon’s sales team continue to have with customers show that UK property is still seen as a safe asset class.

“It has a long track record of weathering small and large storms so while there is rightful caution, our seasoned investors are still completing on opportunities.”

The company says it has witnessed sales across its entire portfolio during lockdown. Last year the company handled 220 new property sales across northern towns and cities including Doncaster, Hull, Liverpool and Manchester, totalling £23 million. 

With a growing demand for town centre regeneration developments, and the increasing appeal of northern secondary and tertiary towns for home buyers and investors, the firm is confident in its predictions that post Covid-19 the housing market will bounce back.

“It’s important also to remember that property investment is not a short-term business,” Ward concludes. “Once the pandemic passes, sooner or later, the property market will be ready to stir again. We know that Savills is sticking by its five-year forecast. That is to say, it is still expecting UK-wide house prices to rise by an average of around 15.3% by the end of 2024.”

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